Faith and forgiveness
"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Matthew 6:14 (ESV)
Today, 19-year-old Rocio is a smiling, outgoing young woman. However, she hasn’t always had reason to smile.
Rocio used to live with her mother, father and brother Hector in the community of Los Alcarrizos in the Dominican Republic. When Rocio was six, a school teacher noticed a change in her behaviour. She became sad and often sat in silence rather than chatting with her classmates. At the teacher’s recommendation, her mother took her to see a doctor. During an examination, they discovered she had been badly abused. After some counselling, Rocio revealed it was her father that had assaulted her.
After an investigation, her father was taken to court and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Shortly after, Rocio was registered at a local church-based Compassion project. Here Rocio found herself surrounded by loving people who were willing to do everything to help her. It was during one of the camping retreats run by the project that Rocio made a profession of faith. Knowing Jesus as her Saviour helped Rocio understand the value of forgiveness. “I remember that in the project, [our] teacher Donora talked about the topic of forgiveness. She said that we need to forgive because God is love and He forgave us of our sins. Then I learnt that forgiving was more beneficial to myself than to my father. So I decided to forgive him and to recognise that circumstances in life, only God knows why He allows them. Today, I love him as my father.”
Rocio plans to go and visit her father in prison to let him know she has forgiven him. She hopes that her brother Hector can forgive him too so they can visit him together soon.
Father God, thank you that you forgive our trespasses. We pray that you will help us to find a way to forgive those who have wronged us. Amen.